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Finlay: Jaret Patterson's stock goes through the roof

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FEDEX FIELD -- Washington played its first home preseason game in two years on Friday night, and while it was largely ugly, a few players stood out. 

And if a few players stood out, one guy shot up like a rocket. 

Stock up 

  • Jaret Patterson - Already a fan favorite after a strong showing in last week's preseason opener, the question now for the undrafted rookie running back is just how high his ceiling can go. Against the Bengals, Patterson impressed running the ball and catching the ball. Additionally, he busted a 37-yard kickoff return. When it comes to actually constructing the roster, if Patterson can return kicks could free up a spot on the 53. Patterson's workload is not just happening in junk time against backups either; he got work with the first-team offense in Friday's game. This is no longer just a feel-good story about a local kid enjoying the preseason with his hometown team. This is real. 
  • Landon Collins - After an improbably rapid recovery from an Achilles injury, Collins has impressed during training camp. Friday night he flew all over the field, showing his speed and his power on a big-time open-field tackle on a screen. If this version of Collins shows up in the regular season, Washington's defense could be better than last year. 
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden - After the release of Kelvin Harmon last week it was time for 2020 4th-rounder Gandy-Golden to state his claim to a roster spot. And he did. AGG grabbed three catches for 38 yards, and had an impressive grab on a two-point conversion on a back-shoulder throw from Kyle Allen. It's hard to look at Friday's game as anything but a very positive step for Gandy-Golden to claim the sixth (and likely final) WR spot. 
  • Corner depth - Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III did not play against Cincy, which meant rookie Benjamin St. Juste and free-agent addition Torry McTyer got the start. They more than held their own, as did Jimmy Moreland, and all of a sudden there is some semblance of order coming to the cornerback depth chart with those five players. 
  • Bounce back - Dustin Hopkins missed both field goal attempts last week and made all three Friday night. That should calm down the kicker competition talk. 

Stock down 

  • Starting offense - For the second straight game, the starting offense proved unable to find the end zone. That's not great, and somewhat surprisingly, starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick did not play after the first quarter. It's too harsh to say the starting offensive group has been bad, they haven't, but they also haven't been good. It's unclear how much that group will play next week against Baltimore, so it's possible Fitzpatrick and company go TD-less in the preseason. That's a bit unsettling. 
  • Cam Sims - The first-quarter fumble wasn't pretty, though Sims had an opportunity to make up for it in the second quarter. Taylor Heinicke threw to Sims in the corner of the end zone in the second quarter, and the lanky receiver went up and grabbed the ball. Though the play was initially called incomplete, on his way down it appeared he tagged his elbow in bounds. The play was reviewed, but it was inconclusive to overturn. That play would have been a big one for Sims and the offense. 
  • Helmet to helmet - Rookie safety Darrick Forrest made a big hit on the goal line to stop a Bengals TD. The receiver fumbled and Washington pounced on the ball, only the refs flagged the hit for an unnecessary roughness penalty and gave Cincy the ball back. Forrest didn't lead with his head and the helmet-to-helmet contact only happened as a result of the receiver trying to gain tough yards and score the touchdown. It was a bad call that cost Washington six points. 

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